14th Amendment Case Study

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In 1990, a legal case was presented by an inmate that forced the legal system to reexamine the rights inmates have when it comes to medical treatment and what process to take in order to decide those rights. This case brought up the issue of the 14th amendment “due process” clause and the forcible use of anti-psychotic medications. Walter Harper was convicted of robbery and sent to prison in 1976 where he was incarcerated until 1980 at the Washington State Penitentiary Mental Health unit. While he was here, he consented to taking anti-psychotic medications with no issues raised. In 1982, Harper was transferred to the Special Offender Center (SOC) after he assaulted two nurses while on parole. That same year in November, he refused to continue…show more content…
First, these medications were found to have serious effects, possible room for abuse, and a history of incorrect use by the profession as a whole. Medications greatly effect an individual’s ability to think and feel correctly, also, their self-awareness is detiorated. Mr. Harper as well as others, should have the right to refuse medications that leave negative current and future impact on their health. Secondly, the question of whether the forcible medications violated the due process clause of the Constitution. The 14th Amendment due process clause explains the guarantee limits of what people can be forced to undergo due to the government. Petitioners challenged “allowing prison authorities to administer medications to inmates against their will” because, it was unconstitutional to deprive inmates of due process rights. However, this legal case outcome stated that it was constitutional in certain situations to force anti-psychotics. If a rigorous review doesn’t take place, the prison officials could administer dangerous drugs to prisoners with immunity. This circumstance should only happen however if; the inmate poses a risk to themselves or others, has a communicable disease that threatens the prison community, or if their condition will hurt their permanent health without medical
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